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La Crosse’s newest affordable housing apartments highlights importance of grant funding

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – After years of development, construction of the Garden Terrace Apartments on Kane Street in La Crosse is nearly complete.

The Garden Terrace Apartments will offer a mix of income based and market rate apartments.

“The number one issue in La Crosse is not enough affordable housing,” community development administrator Caroline Gregerson said. “Not being able to find the apartment that I want to rent at the price I can afford.”

Aside from those applying to live at the apartments, finding residents to fill the apartment complex will be done in part through referrals from Couleecap, the housing authority and the VA in Tomah.

“A handful of these units are reserved for those coming through the VA, veteran led households, who will be supported through a series of VASH vouchers,” Micahel Carlson, V.P. of Real Estate Development for Impact Seven which developed the project said.

VASH vouchers provide rental assistance for homeless veterans.

Part of the funding for the building itself came through a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These grants have been the target of proposed cuts in the federal budget for several years only to be re-implemented by Congress before the budget passes.

“This is a program that too many of my colleagues view as an area that should just be eliminated,” Representative Ron Kind, D-Wisconsin, said. “That communities like La Crosse should just do this on their own.”

That’s not financially feasible, according to the city. Kind says these block grants allow all states to invest in local communities with the idea that the investments will eventually reach back to their own hometowns.

“… and it’s through this leveraged resource that creates the partnerships back home to pull projects like this,” Kind added.

Gregerson agrees, and says it allows cities to find local solutions to a local problem.

“We’re reinvesting back in the neighborhood. We’re encouraging people to live on the north side,” she explained.

Work is set to wrap up at the end of June and residents should be able to move in on July 1. If you are interested in finding out more information about living at the apartments, you can call 608-799-1898.

Jeremy Culver

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